|From Trousering Your Weasel.|
It’s not the evidence of gang activity per se. It’s the noise and the disruption, especially in the middle of the night, in the city. It’s just rude.
Raccoons don’t care. Procyonid is their proper name, meaning “before the dog.” It’s short for “y’all best broom thet thing off the porch before the dog see it.” Only in Latin.
They seem kind of cute from a distance, but like a lot of other things, they swell up at the sight of a man with unzipped pants. Or so I was informed by Dave, right about the time he lost the habit of peeing out behind the shed. They were large. Lined up a few feet away, none of them qualified for carry-on, and some were getting into duffel territory. He was not able to determine, especially through their masks, if they were curious or malevolent. Or peckish.
And now they’re back. This is the worst time of year, when the cold snap has turned all the grapes into little Jell-O shots and the raccoons finish off what the starlings didn’t grab. The south side of the house is littered with birds sleeping it off in the shrubbery and the raccoons have convened on the roof to dance. It would be one thing if they had any rhythm. It would be one thing if they weren’t two sheets to the wind. It would be one thing if they executed a minuet at high noon. But no. They dance and thump and skeeter and giggle at two in the morning, directly over our bed.
We have a tower on the house from which we can actually look out a window and down on our roof. The first hoedown Dave went up there to put the fear of Dave in them. He flicked on the light and charged the window making boogah boogah noises. Eight pairs of eyes edged up close. Hey, it’s Zipper Man, they said, and giggled, and settled in to watch the window like it was America’s Got Talent. My husband is a good-sized man but, as I have had to report to him on other occasions, there is no such thing as a Fear Of Dave. Not really.
There isn’t a huge danger in having raccoons. They can carry rabies, but at least they wash it first. One problem is they can settle into your attic or crawl space. If you do have raccoons in your attic, word is you can repel them by tossing in tennis balls soaked in ammonia. Or you can put in a radio dialed to a talk station. I know just the talk radio host that would be particularly repellent, but resorting to that would be like clearing ants out of your house with time-release napalm.
They were pretty matter-of-fact about this sort of thing in the old days; I have a photo of my Uncle Cliff in a fine raccoon coat, which implied a certain amount of violence. And the original Joy Of Cooking featured a recipe for raccoon. Today, I’m at a loss. The other night they were going to town up there on the roof, and giggling, and I thundered up to the tower to see what could be done. Eight pairs of eyes turned my way. I didn’t end up doing anything. I think the big one with the accordion threw me off, and I sure didn’t want to do anything to get the group with the cowbells going. The mature thing to do, when you can’t change something else, is to change your attitude. To look on the bright side.
Eight trillion bits of information on the internet and you can’t find one search engine to tell you what the insulation R-value of raccoon poop is.
Happy birthday, Zipper Man.
Hilarious. I wish I had your ability to turn problems into sources of entertainment.
It sounds like water pistols loaded with ammonia might help, or perhaps a garden pond filled with same (for a bit of Titanian ambiance too). Or put out that photo of Uncle Cliff as a warning.
But then I'd have to OPEN the window with the water pistol, and they'd charge me. They would. I'm working on scarier boogity boogity noises.
Pshaw. I'm sure you could set up something permanent outside with one of those big water guns hooked up to an ammonia tank and a motion sensor. There are probably instructions on the internet somewhere.
I'll bet most of them involve fertilizer too.
Happy Birthday, Dave, here's to a birthday dinner of roasted raccoon.
And the tail has markings on it so you know where to slice the steaks!
They are cagey buggers. Live trap them and move the before they breed or else adopt them and claim them on your income tax.
We don't really have much problem with them, except when the grapes ferment. Then we have problems with EVERYBODY.
I think the water pistol idea might work.
Clearly that radio host would be illegally cruel, unless you mean Howard Stern, that would only attract more raccoons and a few possums to boot.
So many funny lines…I liked "I have a photo of my Uncle Cliff in a fine raccoon coat, which implied a certain amount of violence." the best.
I wish I had the stamina to figure out where that picture is and scan it. See earlier posts about how to find old pictures. Sigh. He looked North-Dakota fine, I'll tell you.
That drawing may be your finest yet. The cigarette dangling from the lips is a very nice touch.
That's a photograph.
Raccoons …such alarming sounds in the middle of early spring when they are mating or making nests or whatever. They do look at you so cutely but they are NASTY!
I know. That chittery chattery business? What's that about?
Racoons are so adorable from a distance – like, a whole FAMILY of raccoons, their eyes reflected in your headlights, from the corner sewer opening – but freakin' SCARY when just one large specimen is looking at you (me) from a rooftop just outside your (my) bedroom window… for instance…
I once accidentally ran over one on my bike. He was completely unfazed. No wait, that was an opossum. Never mind.
Happy Birthday Dave. I hope the raccoons gift-wrap a little respect for you on this day – even if they take it back, sniggering, tomorrow.
I'm sure they can crank something out.
Years ago my goofy cousin rescued an abandoned baby raccoon from their barn and raised it to early adulthood. It was truly cute while it was still young. It bumbled around their yard collecting "stuff" – including my pen – in a little pile with its tiny hand-like paws. It got too big (and too hormonal) to keep, and had to go live in a wildlife park, poor thing. No fermented grapes for him!
And … happy birthday, Dave, and many more!
The grapes plus the hormones are really something.
Box turtle Diode likes the idea of roasted raccoon. (Dave, she would like to share your birthday dinner.) She was once attacked by a huge raccoon who gave up on her tightly closed shell and left her upside down, then found one of her daughters, who was not so lucky. That was one of the saddest days ever.
Just to clarify, Dave is not getting roast raccoon for dinner. Bleah. Poor Diode.
Ever those rascals ever crossed the Pacific and bred with our possums…oh!man! On the bright side, a combined assault force of raccossums might be the very thing to overthrow certain elements of government…
I hope you leave some birthday cake for them, Dave.
Or Opooms! Our opossums are different from your opossums.
There are coons in the walls and ceiling of my store. A children's shop. That's supposed to smell like baby powder. The coons like to poop on the heater duct. And I wonder why my sales are down. Your Uncle was onto something….but I cannot have them killed. I'll go out of business instead.
It sounds like you will. Yucky poo!
At a campground I once saw a mama raccoon smack around a young 'un that tore into the bag of charcoal. She marched it by the ear over to the picnic table to find horderves. Training begins very early.
Remarkable. Maybe the kid was interested in grilling sumpin.
Last summer I trapped 23 of the masked wonders from the run in chicken coop! Used to think they were adorable, now I just want eggs for breakfast! The bandits are the bane of my existence……..
Do you have a cyclone ceiling on that thing?
'lectric fence…… Quite entertaining 🙂
I'll bet. Still curious: what keeps the hawks and owls off them?
Get one of your young friends to set up a sprinkler (not one of those gentle wavy back and forth sprinklers, but one of the fffft-ffft-fffft- jet type sprinklers) on the roof. Then, when the festivities begin, go downstairs and turn on the water. Then go back up into the tower, and watch the epic battle of raccoon versus sprinkler. you might even film it.
And a big gush of water and raccoon poop goes down the downspouts! Wahoo!
Then you hire that bold cat-corpse removing gardner to deal with the coon-poop. Old people are a great source of casual income for young people.
Yet you know to a tittle what the aggravation-value of a raccoon with an accordion is. Put that on the 'net. Oh, you did; and I enjoyed the dickens out of your tale!
Great! I actually like it when they giggle. Don't tell anyone.
I found you from Paula Behnkins' Birds On a Wire blog, fortunate for me.
Fun tale and I'm sure every word is true. My favorite was the swelling at the sight of unzipped pants…beyond carry-on baggage limit.
Here in the wilds of the Texas Hill Country we're too familiar with the varmints. During a particularly dense infestation some time back my next-door neighbor began live-trapping and carrying them off to a distant neighborhood to vandalize someone else's bird feeders. He'd scored eight before the morning he walked up to the trap and a grandpa skunk squared off and fired through the cage.
Makes a person think things could be worse than a convention of raccoons…
I write at Hill Country Mysteries, you might be in sympathy with my last raccoon story: http://www.hillcountrymysteries.com/2013/07/raccoon-redux.html
Love Birds On A Wire. Oh, and the raccoons get bigger with every retelling, too. Welcome!
Very snortwothy and the picture of Dave is priceless. Your raccoons sound like the Aussie Koalas – cute to look at but deadly if you get too close, especially unzipped. Although joining a party of accordian playing raccoons is a knees-up I wouldn't want to miss.
I think that's the second time you've said "a knees-up." I'd like a derivation, please.
LOL One time a friend told me she opened a cabinet above her stove (she rarely ever got into it) and a raccoon popped out. She screamed and ran and she thought the raccoon did, too. From outside she called 911 and thye came out and wrangled up the raccoon. It had apparently been in her attic and had chewed its way down into the cabinet! She had someone come out, fix where the raccoon got into the attic, fix the hole and clean up, but said till they moved she was always leery of that cabinet.
I would have been dead on the floor. Someone else would have had to call 911.
Here in the hills of Innyanna we do not find raccoons cute. On occasion, they get into the dog food can, even with bungee cords on the lid. One morning I awoke to my husband using his best "interesting" words and running to get his shotgun – turned out that when he opened the lid to get out the dog food he was met by a very large raccoon (who was soon a very dead raccoon and we bought a new can!) I can attest to the fact that they don't scare easily – they hold their ground, even when being fired upon, so I doubt your boogity noises will ever scare them away. We once had a dog who would catch and "dispatch" them – even in the lake. Now we resort to the trap, as needed. This year we had a few, but they finally went away – I don't ask too many questions as to where.
That sounds to me like a very large dog. Holy moly, Deb.
We don't have racoons out here, so I have no idea how you can get rid of them. You know the old saying if you can't beat 'em, join 'em? Get up there and party away, dance your heart out, maybe they'll get annoyed at the gatecrashing and move on.
Now you're talking. If I danced on the roof I could rout a fleet of badgers.
The R value of raccoon poop is effectively Zero because once they've deposited enough of it your roof will rot. They do like creating communal latrines so if you've got one raccoon leaving souvenirs on your roof, you're going to have all of them. It turns nasty fast because they'll keep coming back to defecate in the same spot. We know someone who wound up spending thousands on roof repairs because raccoons established a latrine in the valley where two sections of roof met. You need to figure out a way to keep them at ground level.
My other raccoon horror story involves a summer cottage where raccoons got into the building at some point during the winter, couldn't get back out again, and totally destroyed the place: shredded all the upholstered furniture, tore up all the nonperishable food that had been left in the kitchen (pasta, flours, etc.). They apparently have no problem opening Tupperware containers. When the owners returned in the spring, they called the cops because they thought their cottage had been vandalized.
We have both raccoons and timber wolves around here. I'm rooting for the wolves to eat the raccoons but fear the opposite will happen.
We do have a big pile of poo in one corner of our garden, underneath a handy sittin'-trellis, and we've spent more time than I'd like to admit trying to decide if it's possum or raccoon. If I go out on the roof and examine the leavings, the final clue should snap into place.
What a charming house you have! I hadn't seen a raccoon in years and then last month, I was watching TV and notice one had climbed up on my deck and was watching me. Upon being spotted, he scurried away and hasn't been back since.
Oh I'll bet he has. I'll bet he's under your deck with eight of his closest friends and a couple packs of pinochle cards.
"This is the worst time of year, when the cold snap has turned all the grapes into little Jell-O shots" – Totally hilarious analogy!!
"Eight trillion bits of information on the internet and you can't find one search engine to tell you what the insulation R-value of raccoon poop is" – Now that's a damn shame!
Full disclosure: I didn't actually Google it, but I just did, and I was right. Nada.